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Dallas County invests $5 million to reduce police intervention on mental health calls

Funding will allow the county to complete a center for a jail diversion program.

DALLAS — Dallas County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $5 million to help reduce the interventions for law enforcement on mental health calls.

The programs presented by Dallas County Administrator Darryl Martin came from the New Directions for Public Safety document, produced by a working group of activists and city managers in Dallas County over the last six weeks.

The funding will allow for $1 million for the completion of the Deflection Center at Homeward Bound, a behavioral health treatment center in Dallas. Martin says it will provide an alternative to jail for individuals presenting with mental health or substance use disorders interacting with police.

An additional $3 million would go to implementation of "alternative response models" for cities in Dallas County to reduce interactions between law enforcement and individuals for certain mental health, substance abuse and homeless calls.

The vote Tuesday came after a task force met for five weeks coming up with the 10 Directions for Public Safety and Positive Community Change report completed in late July.

RELATED: Dallas County task force plans to ask county commissioners for $5 million in community-based programs

Sara Mokuria, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality told commissioners via video teleconference the $5 million investment was a start for needed programs. 

"This is just a drop in the bucket for the type of investments we need, this is a proactive solution and I urge you all to take this step in the right direction,” Mokuria said.

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